cover image Nairobi Noir

Nairobi Noir

Edited by Peter Kimani. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61775-754-9

Racial, religious, and class divides are acutely observed in the 14 new stories from Kenyan writers in this decent Akashic noir anthology. In the introduction, Kimani (Dance of the Jakaranda) describes the multicultural, “segregated city” of Nairobi as a “concrete jungle” occupied by “the hunters and the herders and the hunted.” Throughout the volume, where emphasis is placed on inequality and injustice, government corruption and police brutality are ever-present. Winfred Kiunga explores these themes to good effect in the memorably grim “She Dug Two Graves,” in which a grieving woman of Somali heritage seeks vengeance on the deputy police commissioner for her brother’s murder. Rasna Warah’s moving psychological drama, “Have Another Roti,” about bribery and exploitation of the immigration lottery, also focuses on Somali refugees. Other noteworthy stories include Caroline Mose’s gripping “Plot Ten,” in which a police officer is implicitly responsible for a girl’s death, and Ngumi Kibera’s satirical “The Night Beat,” centering on crooked policemen. Though quality varies and not all selections are indeed noir, crime fiction fans will find much to savor. (Feb.)